Decision Assist

Eye specialist


The purpose of this tool is to help you decide whether or not to see an eye specialist. When making a decision like this, you must balance:

This tool is not a substitute for professional medical care and advice. Work with your doctor to help you make this decision. A second opinion from another doctor or specialist may be valuable. There is usually no exact “right” or “wrong” answer.

Your doctor may make certain recommendations to you. However, the final decision about whether to see a specialist rests with you.

What does this specialist do?

A doctor trained as an eye specialist is called an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists are also trained to do eye surgery, such as cataract surgery, retinal detachment repair surgery, and many kinds of laser surgery.


If you are having eye problems, you should have an eye examination from an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. Optometrists often are trained in diagnosing and treating some eye diseases as well as fitting glasses, but they do not do eye surgery.

Symptoms of serious eye conditions may include:

Call for your ophthalmologist for an appointment if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above.

Key points

How much time this decision tool will take

What this tool will provide

Review Date: 9/12/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

  • Comprehensive adult medical eye examination; preferred practice pattern. American Academy of Ophthalmology. 2001.
  • Pediatric eye examination; preferred practice pattern. American Academy of Ophthalmology. 2001.
  • Robb RM. The pediatric eye examination. Principles and Practice of Ophthalmology. Vol 4:2716-2729.
  • Mead MD and Aiello LM. The eye and systemic disease. Principles and Practice of Ophthalmology. Vol 5:2847-3194.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. No warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability, timeliness, or correctness of any translations made by a third-party service of the information provided herein into any other language. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
© 1997- adam.comAll rights reserved.